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Rene Godefroy

Rene Godefroy

Overcoming Adversity
Personal Growth
Team Building



Born in a tiny, isolated village on the island of Haiti, Rene Godefroy was an impoverished child perpetually tormented by cholera, rickets and malnutrition. Abandoned by his father and left behind while his mother sought work in the city, Rene subsisted on meager charity and the rare fish he caught with a string and hook. Some people of his village called him "Souyan", the name of a sick and disabled old man. Few expected he would survive to adulthood.

Rene surprised them. In 1983, he came to Montreal with a Haitian theater company and escaped into the United States wedged between the rear tires of a tractor-trailer. He arrived in New York with five dollars in his pocket, and two shirts and a pair of pants in his battered suitcase. In the years that followed, Rene supported himself doing hard labor for low pay. Sure in his heart that he was capable of much more, Rene taught himself English, read voraciously and dedicated himself to his grandest ambitions. Today, he is a proud American citizen, and a successful businessman, speaker and author. When the man they once called "Souyan" returned to visit Haiti, a man told him, "You are our Village Hero".

Rene recently appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes, in a segment that featured Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Colin Powell, Peter Lowe and other top motivational speakers. CNN, Media One and Day Break Atlanta have also shared Rene's story with their viewers. In what was perhaps his most significant achievement to date, Rene recently delivered his famous keynote address, "No Condition is Permanent", to more than 2,000 members of the National Speakers Association in Washington, D.C. Following the keynote, internationally renowned speaker W. Mitchell wrote that Rene had stolen the show and prompted the audience "to rethink their priorities, their goals and, most of all, their ability to fulfill their dream".

An hour with Rene will change you for a lifetime. His robust, witty, anecdotal speaking style will take you on a journey of space and spirit: From sickness to strength, from poverty to prosperity, from a deadly nightmare to an abundant dream. Rene's unquenchable passion and heroic life story stir triumphant laughter and world-wise tears. He inspires audiences to approach all obstacles with a bold soul and an ardent heart, using change as our good fortune and the diverse gifts of colleagues and friends as our most bountiful wealth. We all, Rene shows us, have the power to be a Village Hero.


Have a Good Trip! Positively Charged Attitudes:

Every morning, we wake up with the power to choose how we will spend the rest of the day, but we often fail to exercise that freedom. Attitude can make or break an organization. Is your team positively charged? Recalling the first words he heard spoken on American soil, Rene will inspire your team members to "Have a good trip".

You Gotta Change Your World! Creatively Embracing Change:

As an immigrant in an adopted land, Rene knows that we must sometimes change our inner world in response to the world in which we find ourselves. Using the words of one of his first American friends, Rene will teach your team how to succeed in turbulent times by embracing change as an opportunity for growth.

No Condition is Permanent! Overcoming Obstacles:

Within the depths of our being lies infinite wisdom and power. Neither daily challenges nor enduring obstacles can long deter anyone aware of her or his own capacity. Illustrating his lessons with stories of his own trials and triumphs, Rene will show your team members how they can realize their greatest hopes and dreams. They will walk away with an expanded understanding of all they can accomplish.

And Streets Paved With Gold! The Gift of Diversity:

Every member of your team possesses a special gift. When even one person's unique contribution is ignored, innovation and creativity suffer. Rene will help your team recognize and utilize America's greatest wealth and power: the rich diversity of its people.


"Rene is a powerful speaker who provides a rare combination of style and substance that mesmerizes audiences. He is truly impactful and can take an audience to the next level of achievement."

Les Brown, CPAE Author of "It's Over Until I Win".

"I have watched, along with 2000 others, Rene J. Godefroy not just steal the show but cause the audience to rethink their priorities, their goals and, most of all, their ability to fulfill their dream. He's one of a kind who will be the hero of your 'village.' Put him in front of your group soon; you really can't afford not to."

W. Mitchell, CPAE Author of "It's Not What Happens To You, It's What You Do About It".

Motivational Speaker - Rene Godefroy